The homie A-Fos (of A-Fos & The Rude Youth) just dropped the 14-track Clean Your Room Already, a pay-what-you-want debut solo project after the group’s Trying To Be Better. Crafted around a series of interludes focusing on relating to the world, relating to others, and surrendering to the present, the album follows A-Fos through an introverted struggle, wrestling with regret and unanswered questions, before leading to a revelation of acceptance and closure (that’s my best Freud impression, anyway).
It’s a London affair, with guest features from familiar names like Casper, Kehmak, and Kyle Kanevil, as well as others including Nathan Bain and Olivia Borkosky. A couple early favourites are “Don’t Slip” and “Spot of Grey” featuring Joel Denny, “Back in the Day” featuring Nathan Bain, and “Breathe” featuring Olivia Borkosky (and some fantastic production from Zlender). It’s a long time coming, too — I remember hearing snippets of the album around this time last year. It’s good to finally see it come to light, and in any case, it was worth the wait.
Listen to the album below.
When it comes to the future of Canadian hip-hop, there’s plenty to look forward to, but there are a handful of emcees who I’m really excited about. Hamilton’s T.Y. is one of those emcees. After first seeing him perform at The Come Up Show’s 7th Anniversary, I was floored by his live show and became an instant fan, eager for the next project I could dig into.
That was April of last year. After all this time (and a few noteworthy releases along the way), the wait is over. T.Y. and Chef Byer (who, it should be mentioned, is right up there as one of the best beatmakers in Canada) have collaborated to create The Beautiful Exchange (shouts to Complex on the premiere). I’ve been more than excited to take this in — and, I’ll add, curious to see whether it would live up to what I thought it could be, as my previous experience of T.Y. had been a pretty small sample size.
I’ve decided to do something a little different this time around and share my first-take impressions of the album. What you’ll read are my live reactions, and while they may not be comprehensive, I hope they’ll provide a glimpse into what this album has to offer.
Stream the album and read the first-take track-by-track breakdown after the jump.
Anticipated for months, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experimental have finally released their album SURF. Comprised of Chicago musicians Chance The Rapper, Nate Fox, Peter Cottontale, JP Floyd, Donnie Trumpet, and Greg Landfair the band successfully concentrates an array of influences into an amazing, feel good, timeless sound.
Originating back in 2013 with Chance The Rapper’s second mixtape Acid Rap, individuals in the band such as Peter Cottontale and Nate Fox produced the majority of the project and soon became his tour band, with the addition of the talented Donnie Trumpet called The Social Experiment. Gelling well as a band, the group embarked on an ambitious new album that has lived up to the expectations.
Collaborating with upcoming and established artists like Big Sean, J.Cole, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, D.R.A.M., Quavo of Migos, Jeremih, King Louie, BJ The Chicago Kid, Noname Gypsy, Saba, and Joey Purp, SURF creates an eclectic, warm, playful, gentle, and inspiring instrumentation that is relatable for all ages. A prominent influence that really standouts and gives them their signature sound, is the Chicago adaption of having a rich history in the Blues, Jazz, Soul, and Gospel music. The perfect blend of the four genres produces a nostalgic mood for the listener combined with a uplifting dance driven rhythms that gives a reminiscent feel of Stevie Wonder’s classic album Songs In The Key Of Life.
Truly a landmark album in the Hip Hop genre, SURF’s overall production is courageous, experimental, brilliant, universal, sentimental, and innovative that also touches base with various social topics. A rarity in today’s aggressive industry, The Social Experiment demonstrate what results when great musicians concentrate on the true vision and deliver a project solely about the music.
After multiple listens, SURF is undoubtedly a masterpiece. Whether Chance and The Social Experiment will continue to make more music together in the future is unknown, however the strength of theses 16 songs are so powerful it will maintain an honourable legacy for the group that will continue to inspire for decades to come.
Some of my favourite tracks from the album: Miracle, Warm Enough, Nothing Came To Me, Windows, Familiar, Go, Something Came To Me, Pass the Vibes. Want to share some your favourite tracks? Feel free to comment in the section below.
Derek Christoff AKA D-Sisive, the Canadian rapper hailing from Toronto, Ontario hits us with a collection of tracks under the title “I’ll Change Your Life If You Change Mine“. Best known for his Juno-nominated EP “The Book“, D-Sisive shows us an 11 track album featuring a few songs that have been previously released such as “Fat Cage”, “6 Inch God”, and “Violent J”, as well as a ton of new cuts that are sure to have any D-Sisive fan jumping for joy. It is also worth noting that the digital release seems to be sub-titled “aboyinaroom may“.
The digital release starts out with a creepy intro in the form of a skit titled “I Hope I’m Gonna Be Ok“, where the artist asks himself just that, then ends it off stating that “2015 is going to be quite a ride”, setting the listener up for the adventure ahead. The second track entitled “The Scientology Samba” starts off smooth, and with the production and vocals gaining ground, the energy builds up before giving way to a groove type feel. “Lil’ Bow Wow” sports D-Sisive ripping apart a boom bap beat, throwing out bar after bar. If you’re a fan of straight rhymes, this is going to be the track for you. “Violent J” holds a dark overtone in regards to the production, and the vocals themselves, which appear to be fit the title quite well. “6 Inch God“, a hilarious take on Drake’s “6 God”, has Derek flowing smoothly over an undeniably classic instrumental as one of the stand out tracks on the album. “Gabagool” & “The Furious Funkster” have D-Sisive delivering his signature style, before “Fat Cage” comes around with Derek killing a quirky instrumental that just sounds so right. The second to last cut “Basquiat Don’t Breakdance” has to be one of my favorite cuts on the album, with the track only being 1:09, D-Sisive flows all over the beat with this head bopping track. The closing song is titled “Peter’s Tits [Lesbian Haircut (Win Butler)], and is quite fitting to close out the album, with its gentle almost optimistic feel. D-Sisive is gearing up for 2015 being quite a ride.
For some info about what D-Sisive himself had to say about his new release, hit the jump.
Created with passion, vigor, and an altruistic approach, Oddisee delivers an eclectic new album The Good Fight. In a music genre that has become so accessible, disposable, and formulaic, the Mello Music Group MC evokes the listener to consider the artistry and message being expressed. A self proclaimed minimalist, musically Oddisee is reassuring his potential is reaching it’s maximum. With everything produced and performed independently, the album is able to use various influences of Jazz, Soul, Gospel, and Funk to be well integrated as if it was one continuous jam session. Though of course there are elements of hip hop trends and foundations, Oddisee puts his own interpretation on the genre to elevate the sound. The combination of live instrumentation, sampling, and layers of overdubs provide warm, appealing, and head nodding songs relatable to a broad range of music fans.
With the irresistible temptations that come along with new found fortunate and fame, it becomes increasingly easier for an artist to lose sight of their original vision and give in to the mainstream . His observations of the lack of dedication and loyalty to stay true to the cause, has Oddisee inspired to prove success can be achieved otherwise. His philosophical outlook as an artist has him involuntarily conveying the message of truly defending what you believe in, no matter the outcome. The personality traits of honesty, honour, and character reflects Oddisee’s maturity not only in the music but who he is as a person, which seems to provide a rare role model in todays industry.
Garnering underground success with a steady cult following, Oddisee continues to progress in the right direction and proves his philosophies are applicable even with the odds against you.
Some of my favourite tracks: That’s Love, First Choice, What They’ll Say, Counter Clockwise
Have your own favourite tracks? Feel free to comment in the section below.